MI Governor Signs Bill Giving Prop 2 Protections to Farm Animals


Update Oct. 13, 2009: Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has now signed this bill into law. 

Update Oct. 5, 2009: The Michigan legislature has now passed a Senate substitute version of H.B. 5127. The Senate version is virtually identical to that passed by the House except the effective date of protectons for veal calves was extended to October 1, 2012.

The House concurred in this amendment, and with Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s signature, the bill will become law. This bill which is modeled on California’s Prop 2, will eliminate the worst of the factory farming practices, battery cages for egg laying hens, gestation crates for pregnant sows and tie stalls for veal calves.

Recently, Maine joined Colorado and Arizona in banning these cruel practices for pregnant sows and veal calves.  California with its successful Prop 2 will ban cruel confinement for egg laying hens as well. Oregon and Florida ban cruel confinement of pregnant sows. A Prop 2 like measure remains pending in New York’s Assembly.

For more on the cruelty of these practices, go here.  

For more on this historic legislation, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update Sept. 17, 2009: Yesterday, by a vote of 87-20, the Michigan House of Representatives passed a new version of H.B. 5127, a House substitute version, that would eliminate the worst of the factory farming practices, battery cages for egg laying hens, gestation crates for pregnant sows and tie stalls for veal calves.

Under the substitute version passed yesterday by the House, however, animal food producers would be prohibited from tethering or confining a pregnant sow or veal calf "for all or the majority of a day in a manner that prevents the animal from….[l]ying down, standing up and fully extending the animal’s limbs; and …[t]urning around freely." "Turning around freely" means being able to turn "in a complete circle without any impediment, including a tether, and without touching the side of an enclosure". Egg laying hens would be able to extend their wings fully, something they cannot do now in the typical factory farm. Egg laying hens would be required to have at least 1 square foot of space, not nearly enough.

There would be exceptions for animals that are the subject of scientific or agricultural research; undergoing veterinary treatment and care; being transported; at a rodeo exhibition or state or county fair or 4-H or similar exhibition; or being slaughtered according to law. There would also be an exception for sows during the 7-day period prior to the sow’s expected date of giving birth.

This bill, if it becomes law, would not take effect for veal calves for 1 year and for pigs and egg laying hens for 10 years. 

2 thoughts on “MI Governor Signs Bill Giving Prop 2 Protections to Farm Animals”

  1. While I admit that for the individual animals involved, any immediate relief is, well, a relief, until we change the whole system these “victories” are actually misleading.

    First there’s the end result: the animals are still slaughtered. Only now people think “oh, they’re treated nicely at the farm. It’s okay to eat them.” Laws like this would not be passed if they actually served the long-term interests of farm animals.

    Second there’s the idea that factory farming is the only bad kind of animal farming. I live near Asheville, NC, one of the most annoyingly vocal habitats of the meat-eating locavore, who assumes that because an animal is raised on a family farm, the: separation of the animal from her/his family; the transport to slaughter; the actual process of slaughter; the much-higher cost of the meat, dairy and egg products make this kind of meat prohibitive to anyone middle-class or poorer do not matter. The animal is still viewed as property to be expolited (though such ownership is not thought of in terms of exploitation).

    Third, people who are made uneasy by or feel disgusted by animal cruelty have a new out for continuing to eat meat: the animals are treated well (despite being slaughtered). People who might otherwise become veg*n become locavores, or continue to consume meat because the animals are “not mistreated.”

    Again, I see a gray area because the animals who suffer deserve any kind of relief they can get; yet this relief, which is so temporary and not an enormous improvement, only leads to continued and increasing exploitation and slaughter.

    So I don’t consider this good news at all.

  2. I am happy to hear that changes are being made in regards to Factory Farmed Animals well-being. I am suprised that it can take up to 10 years for these laws to be effective. Why does it take this long? Immediate help is needed for all of these suffering animals. It is in our best interest for our health to address as soon as possible. The environment in which these animals are being housed is toxic. This is the food we are eating. Live animals mixed with dead ones, diseased, antibiotics and other artificial additives in the meat, eggs and milk. This will eventually cause disease and medical problems for the people who consume.

    Above all, these animals endure so much suffering at the hands of humans for our purposes. They are not alloted comfort, dignity or humanity. The types of cruelty involved are atrocities that are unbelievable if not documented by these brave animal activists, who are undercover and have to witness without being able to do anything to help. Without this proof, no-one would know what is really happening because these factories do not want us to know.

    Also, our environment is being polluted with the after waste of these factories without regard to the consequences.

    After watching the videos and educating myself about what is really happening in these factory farms, I cannot bring myself to eat meat and still have a conscience. It is not about eating meat, but about how the animals suffer and the treatment and conditions that are involved. It is not sanitary and is what is causing a lot of people to get sick and cause massive recalls.

    We need to go back to the old fashioned family farms, where people care about the lives and treatment of the farm animals and cleanliness of the environment. Cage free chickens, grass fed cows, pigs and other animals living in their natural environment, habitats and instincts.

    It should not take 10 years for the suffering of these animals to end. We need to have changes along to way to ensure not only the safety of our food supply, but the treatment and humanity of the animals.

    Also, awareness is needed. People need to know where their food is coming from. You should be able to tour any farm to see how the animals are being treated and how the food is being processed. If they do not want you to see or there are no windows – they have something to hide. The workers and farms need to know that they are accountable for their actions. The consumers are the ones who are purchasing these products and want to know that their dairy, eggs and meat are treated and processed in a humanely and natural environment – free from disease, sickness and toxins. Many polls have documented that people are prepared to pay a little more for something that should have been done anyway.

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